Let me say up front, there were a couple of people that thought I was little (!?!) cynical about Valentine’s Day. I will reply in honesty … Yes, I probably was. However – let me explain.
(Assuming best Masterpiece Theater voice)
My week of working in the florist shop began on Tuesday … the calm calm before the storm. It was a long day, but fairly uneventful. By the afternoon, the temperature had begun to rise in the clients calling in for orders. Still, no one appeared to have “lost it” at this point.
Wednesday the floodgates opened at 8:30am and the phone did not stop ringing until 5pm that night. There were 120 orders and walk-ins that went out the door that day … some were called in, some were web orders from Telefloral and FTD. Still, the day went smoothly and people seemed pleased. By the end of the day – there appeared to be over 230 orders that were going to have to be delivered on Thursday.
Thursday (the actual day of Valentine) the phones started ringing at 7am … they were not answered until 9am. From that point on it was non-stop. We actually had people calling in at 10am wanting to know why the arrangements they had ordered had not been delivered yet.
Finally all the drivers had loaded their vans and headed out to all points of delivery. At this point, we are keeping tabs on inventory AND zip codes. There were several people who had not listened when they were told there were no guaranteed delivery times for that day … it would get there, we just couldn’t say when.
The day was moving forward (cue sound track from Jaws here). At this point the calls were being balanced between people wanting to know when, people wanting deliveries to areas we didn’t and people wanting the impossible. “I’m sorry sir, we don’t sell carnations — of any color and we would be unable to deliver them to Clutch, TX even if we did. (actual name of town).
There was only one complaint at that point – she didn’t think her arrangement was “perfection” and wanted another. Fortunately, she was in the building so a new one was walked up to her – and the “imperfect” one brought back to the shop. As it was sitting on the counter ready to be put back in the cooler, someone walked in and bought it. The front of the store was beginning to resemble a bargain basement – people trying to wheel and deal.
Technically there is no smoking in the building, but as I was not going to be able to leave to go outside, I was given an ashtray and I took two smoke breaks the entire day. Lunch was at the desk … the work must go on.
At this point I was dealing with people who forgot it was Valentine’s Day — or just waited until the last minute…not a good idea on this holiday ~ trust me on that one!! There is a certain 800/internet outfit that takes any order that comes in and then tries to farm them out to local florists at the last minute. I had to deal with about 10 phone calls from them and ended spending quite a bit of time explaining each time why we couldn’t/wouldn’t be able to help.
The wire brought in 3 orders for funerals in town and I ended up wiring out several funeral orders for out of town. And the phones kept ringing. The system that the shop uses allows us to look up florists in a specific zip code – I was using that a lot to tell people who to call that might be able to deliver. Also, we have a similar name to another florist close by … several calls from people who were unhappy with the arrangement only to be told that they had called the wrong shop …
Four O’clock came and thought we were surely through with all the last minute orders – when this gentleman(?) called in to demand that a dozen roses be delivered to an address forty-five miles away in rush hour traffic. He became highly incensed that had to tell him that we were not going to be able to do that. I was going to offer to deliver it for a $100 delivery charge, but thought better of it.
Why the chaos? It can be summed up, I think, by saying that of all the holidays Valentine’s Day is the most personal. People do remember their friends (thank you DB, EM for your ecards!!) But by and large this is a time that seems to be for those who are in a relationship, want to be in a relationship or need to be in a relationship. And, they get crazy and somewhat
stupid illogical. For example … I got a call (on Thursday) from a gentleman who wanted to recognize that he had been with this person for two Valentine’s Days. He was insistent that there be only two roses in a vase … no greenery, etc. AND that it be delivered. This delivery was going only a few blocks from where we were ~ and not much further than from where he was. No, it had to be delivered and as soon as possible. This arrangement probably would have cost him at the most $12 using premium rose buds. We have a $35 minimum delivery AND a $15 holiday delivery fee. He spent $50 to have it delivered.
Ah yes, the wonders of the holiday…I’m glad I only do this once a year to help out. There was talk about having me work Christmas week, but I think I’m going to be very “busy” that week. I think I’ll be able to appreciate the season more!!!
He wanted this Valentine’s day to be special, so he had ordered a bottle of her favorite liquor imported from France and it had arrived in time for the occasion.
On his way home, he stopped at the local florist. He had planned to have a bouquet made with her favorite flower, white anemones. But to his dismay, he found that the florist had sold all her flowers and had only a few sterns of feathery ferns left for decoration.
In a moment of inspiration, he had the answer.
He asked the florist to make a bouquet using the flask of liquor instead of flowers and what she produced was magnificent well beyond his expectations. He added a card, and proceeded home.
When he arrived, his wife was beautiful in her most elegant gown, and it was apparent that she had spent much of the day preparing a romantic candlelight dinner for the two of them.
He presented her with his gift, and she opened the card to read, “Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder.”
With a tear in her eye, she whispered to him lovingly, “Yes, and with fronds like these, who needs anemones.”